Region’s utility companies urged to collaborate

KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 31, 2008 – Jamaica’s Energy Minister, Clive Mullings, has called on Caribbean utility companies to collaborate in order to combat the challenges posed by the escalating price of fuel and the energy crisis on the global market.

“If we are to move ahead in the Caribbean towards achieving developed status, we must collaborate and continue to search for solutions to the present energy crisis we are now experiencing,” he said at the 2008 Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation (CARILEC) Engineers and Engineering Managers Conference this week.

“Indeed, sharing amongst counterparts at this level is very important as we strengthen our economic and political ties towards integrated development and greater partnership among Caribbean states.”

Mr Mullings pointed out that just a few days ago the Jamaica Public Service Company and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), signed a joint agreement for the production of Petcoke, a blend between petroleum and bio-gas, which will assist in the generation of electricity at the Hunts Bay plant in Kingston. He added that this plant would generate 120 megawatts of electricity, 100 of which would be going to the national grid and 20 megawatts to the PCJ.

“The project, which will see some 2,000 persons engaged in construction, is a collaboration to meet a crisis and to ensure that the fortunes of the electricity company and the fortunes of the consumer are tied together inextricably and in fact, that those fortunes can benefit everyone,” the Minister said.

Turning to the issue of electricity consumption, he said that while the present thrust towards conservation was good, it was inevitable that growth and development would lead to increased consumption, which would demand a renewed approach to energy management.

Some 250 representatives from 19 electric utility companies across the Caribbean and over 58 companies from Europe, Ireland, Latin America and the United States of America, participated in the conference, held under the theme: ‘Engineering solutions to the challenges faced by Caribbean Electric Utilities in the 21st Century’.